Cramer says Gardner “absolutely” can run again for office, handled the exposure of his Peeping-Tom criminal history in a “gentlemanly way”
(BISMARCK, ND) — Kevin Cramer sounds ready to endorse convicted-Peeping Tom Will Gardner for his next run for office after he withdrew from the Secretary of State’s race this week.
This morning, Cramer praised Gardner as “a very good man,” who handled exposure of the criminal history “in a gentlemanly way.” When Gardner was a 29-year-old married father of two, he caught prowling outside freshman women’s dorms in the middle of January at the North Dakota State University – where he served as an employee – with his pants unzipped, shirt undone and belt left on the front see of his car. Gardner described his behavior as “immature.”
Cramer said Gardner’s convicted prowler history, if made public earlier, “wouldn’t have been much of an issue,” and wouldn’t “have been a compelling case” not to vote for him. Cramer even suggested that Gardner may have orchestrated the exposure of his crimes to help his future political career because “Americans like a redemption story.”
“Does Kevin Cramer think that preying on young women makes someone a good man?”said Scott McNeil, Executive Director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL. “Not pausing to even think of the victims, Kevin Cramer would rather defend a predator just to make sure Gardner’s actions don’t reflect badly on his own Senate run. How about condemning this absolutely disgusting behavior or speaking up on behalf of women across North Dakota? Kevin Cramer should be setting an example, not acting as a window-peeping apologist.”
Cramer’s quotes show his nonchalant attitude towards Gardner’s acts:
If, after the fact, as it turns out, it comes out while he’s already while he’s already on the ballot and he’s the endorsed candidate, I suppose I would have told them to handle it just like he did because I thought, I think Will handled it as well as anybody could in a gentlemanly way, did the right thing. But it’s very unfortunate for the party to have been, to be in this situation, to have been put into this situation, and it could have been avoided.
I’m not so sure Will wouldn’t have still won the Republican endorsement had he done, had he revealed this much, much earlier and explained it to people, and in which case, I think he wouldn’t have much of an issue.
Sure, the Democrats would make an issue of it, as they should. That’s what the opposition is supposed to do. But I don’t think it would have been a compelling case.
I think that a little time, you know, is always valuable when you are faced with something like this. […] So but you’re right, there was, in my view, there was no urgency for the party to have had to have this settled immediately.
[Could Gardner] one day run for a state office again? I absolutely think there is. I absolutely think there is. And I think that maybe that was part of this calculation of how he handled it because I do think, again, North Dakotans, like other Americans, like the redemption story. Will is that. He is by all measure, by anybody who knows him and knows him well, including his wife, a very good man.